The US army has failed to monitor over $1bn worth of arms and other military equipment transfers to Kuwait and Iraq, Amnesty International said in a report citing a 2016 US government audit.
The now-declassified document by the US Department of Defence (DoD) audit, was obtained by the rights group following Freedom of Information requests.
The audit reveals that the DoD “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of a vast amount of equipment on hand in Kuwait and Iraq.
Some records were incomplete, while duplicated spreadsheets, handwritten receipts and the lack of a central database increased the risk for human-error while entering data.
“This audit provides a worrying insight into the US army’s flawed – and potentially dangerous system for controlling millions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region,” stated Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International’s Arms Control and Human Rights researcher in the report.
The rights group stated in its report that its own research had “consistently documented” lax controls and record-keeping within the Iraqi chain of command which had resulted in arms winding up in the hands of armed groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).
“After all this time and all these warnings, the same problems keep occurring,” Wilcken said.
‘Irresponsible arms transfers’
The military transfers were part of the Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF), a programme that appropriated $1.6bn to provide assistance to military and other security services associated with the government of Iraq, including Kurdish and tribal security forces.
The transfers included small arms and heavy weapons, machine guns, mortar rounds and assault rifles.